Kodiak Island Borough property tax assessments have been mailed out, and are slightly higher this year.
State law requires assessing departments to update property values annually, and to do reinspections every six years to ensure the values are accurate.
This year, the Kodiak Island Borough assessor’s office completed a lengthy reassessment of all properties on the borough road system. It began the process in 2010, soon after Bill Roberts took over as assessor.
Roberts said the total taxable value of properties borough-wide rose about 26 percent this year.
Some Kodiak homes saw significant increases in assessments largely because they haven’t been updated in 20 years. Older homes inside the city that hadn’t been looked at for years went up 70 to 80 percent, while some homes only jumped around 10 percent. Newly constructed homes saw less of a jump.
“There were a lot of people inside the city that the last time they were actually looked at was in 1992, and some as far back as 1984,” Bill Roberts said. “Some of them doubled.”
All properties have been assessed using the borough’s new property assessment and collection system, which was purchased in 2009. The system allows the borough to do mass updates depending on assessment trends, a feature that wasn’t available on the old system.
“This new system, we can go in there and we can do mass updates by just about anything you want,” Roberts said. “You can go in there and say all single family homes under 1,600 square-feet are increasing in value or decreasing in value, and we can go in there and adjust just those specific properties.”
Now that the borough has recent inspections of the homes on the road system, property owners shouldn’t expect to see jumps this large in the future.
“Assuming there are no major errors on the system, there shouldn’t be any large jumps,” Roberts said. “Every year we have to adjust to the market.”
The borough plans to reinspect Kodiak properties every three years to ensure the assessments are as accurate as possible.
Assessments were mailed on Feb. 28, and people who want to challenge their property tax assessment have until March 29 to contact the borough assessor’s office to discuss the value and present any evidence for an alternative figure.
After the evidence is presented the borough does a reassessment and comes up with a new value. If the property owner is still not satisfied at that point, the owner can fill out an official form to appear before the board of equalization.
“If you come in and have a really good reason and can prove it, we’re not going to argue,” Roberts said.
In 2010, the first year the borough started doing reinspections, the borough had around 30 to 40 appeals before the board. Last year, that number decreased to only three.
Roberts said the assessor’s office hasn’t seen a large number of complaints this year so far.
The biggest reason people challenge the property tax assessments is because assessors don’t look at the inside of a home. If a homeowner has done extensive remodels of the inside of the home, it could change the value, Roberts said.
Property tax bills will be generated in July after the borough assembly sets the budget, looks at borough’s taxable value and determines the mill rate. Tax bills will be mailed around August.
To contact the borough assessor’s office to challenge an assessment or ask questions, call 486-9353.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.